To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Eric Garcetti is sworn in as 42nd mayor of Los Angeles

 On a sweltering afternoon outside City Hall, the longtime Silver Lake councilman thanks his predecessor for leaving Los Angeles 'safer, greener and stronger.'


 By Michael Finnegan, Catherine Saillant, and David Zahniser, June 30, 2013


Eric Garcetti promised to "work hard on the basics" of running the city as he was sworn in Sunday as the 42nd mayor of Los Angeles in a no-frills ceremony staged to present him as a man of the people.
Garcetti vowed to focus relentlessly on guiding the city's economic recovery, slashing business taxes, keeping film production from fleeing L.A. and spurring high-tech jobs on the Westside.

"These times demand a back-to-basics mayor, focused above all else on our economy and jobs," Garcetti told the crowd before outlining plans for "a customer-friendly government, one you can actually reach on the phone."

Garcetti, 42, thanked outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for leaving Los Angeles "safer, greener and stronger," even while weathering a brutal economic crisis.

But eight years after Villaraigosa set far-reaching goals for schools, public transit and the environment, Garcetti said his priority would be to "fix the potholes and pave the streets, pick up the litter, fix the sidewalks and trim the trees."

"It's no use painting a lofty picture if you don't have the brass tacks to pin it up on the wall," Garcetti told several thousand people gathered outside City Hall on a sweltering summer afternoon. Much of the crowd looked on from the newly opened Grand Park, across Spring Street, where an evening of free entertainment featured L.A.-based acts Buyepongo, Jungle Fire, Moonlight Trio and the Lula Washington Dance Theatre.

"A lot of people are going to be watching his administration with high expectations," said John Wirfs, a Silver Lake architect who packed a picnic with his friend Colin Chow and rode the Red Line downtown to see the ceremony from a rare shady spot on the lawn.

Befitting his populist message, Garcetti spoke not from a raised platform but from the bottom of the City Hall steps, which were covered in blue carpet. For Villaraigosa's first inauguration, the carpet was red.

Both the musician Moby, wearing a black T-shirt and speaking partly in Spanish, and late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel joked about the Silver Lake councilman's ties to cutting-edge culture. Kimmel said during his introduction that the blazing heat was "the responsibility of the previous administration."

"Mayor Villaraigosa, this is on your watch," Kimmel joked. "When Eric takes over as mayor, it'll be cool all the time."

Garcetti also reminded the city of his mixed heritage: Jewish on his mother's side, Mexican on his father's.

"My family's story in Los Angeles begins humbly — one side of my family crossing an ocean and a continent to flee persecution in Poland and Russia, the other side crossing a river, escaping war in Mexico, looking for a better life," he said.

Alluding to last week's U.S. Supreme Court rulings clearing the way for same-sex marriage, Garcetti described Los Angeles as "a place where difference and diversity aren't castigated, they're celebrated — long before the courts rule in their favor."

The inauguration marked the most dramatic transformation of the city's political leadership since 2001, with nine of its 18 elected offices changing hands. Among those sworn in at the ceremony were incoming City Atty. Mike Feuer and City Controller Ron Galperin, accompanied by his husband, Zachary Shapiro.

On Monday, Garcetti will set to work forming his administration. Among the first moves planned is a review of top officials at dozens of agencies, including the fire, airport and harbor departments. Garcetti said he expected general managers to reapply for their jobs and demonstrate ways to cut costs and set performance benchmarks.

But Sunday was largely about ceremony and symbolism. On a morning visit to First African Methodist Episcopal Church in South L.A., Garcetti said he picked Kenia Castillo, the 13-year-old daughter of a janitor, to swear him in rather than "some big elected official or my father," former Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti.

"I wanted this city to understand that I know the power comes from you, from the least among us, from the most humble, from the forgotten, from those voices and those faces who aren't even in the pews today," he told parishioners.

Garcetti told the congregation that he'd chosen fifth-grader Lily Newman to lead the Pledge of Allegiance because when he saw her at her Porter Ranch school, she gave him a jar full of nickels, dimes and quarters that she'd collected from classmates for his campaign.

"That jar will be by my side," Garcetti said. "And it will remind me that it is time for us to raise up a generation that believes that Los Angeles is not just a big city … but a great city. And greatness is defined not by how much wealth we have in the best places, but by how much we lift up the worst, how much we welcome back those coming home from prison, those coming back from war, those sleeping under a bridge no more, and those who need just some hope."

Garcetti also signaled that he plans to give vanquished rival Jan Perry a senior role in his administration. Perry, whose 12 years on the City Council came to an end Sunday, won nearly every precinct in South Los Angeles in the March mayoral primary but did not make it into the May runoff.

Metro: 10 Freeway pay lanes have an average speed of 64 mph

Data unavailable for traffic speeds on the mixed-flow lanes

By Steve Scauzillo, June 30, 2013

  Metro officials are preparing for the opening of the toll lanes along a 14-mile stretch of the 10 freeway, November 27, 2012. A new Metro report details the average speed for motorists using the pay lanes.

 Cars are traveling at top speeds on the new 10 Freeway Express Lanes during the morning rush hour, but for motorists who stick to the free, mixed-flow lanes, anecdotal evidence suggests their trip is a slow ride through heavy traffic.

An incomplete report from Stephanie Wiggins, Metro's executive officer in charge of the pay lanes pilot project, said the average travel speed along the 14-mile pay lanes from the 605 Freeway to Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles was 64 mph for the month of April.

But when asked whether more cars were crossing over into the mixed-flow lanes and causing heavier traffic during peak periods, as some users suggest, Wiggins said she did not know because sensors that count cars in the mixed-flow lanes were not working.

"We do not have those figures yet. They are still under analysis," she responded in an email. "It will take more time to determine because the loop detectors were not functioning due to construction activity along the route."

In an oral report to the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments last week, Wiggins said pay lane users from late February to early June traveled at least 45 mph 100 percent of the time during peak traffic periods. She also said traffic volume in the pay lanes has caught up to pre-conversion rates.
She was asked by several Council of Governments board members what was the effect on the mixed-flow lanes.

"We are still analyzing the numbers but we definitely saw people shift over to the mixed flow lanes," she told the Council of Governments. When pressed for traffic volume numbers and traffic speeds in the mixed-flow lanes, Wiggins said she didn't yet have that data. When she does get the data, traffic volumes and speeds in the mixed-flow lanes will be calculated along with other factors, such as fuel prices, unemployment, accidents, construction, non-typical weather and special events.

"So the analysis underway extrapolates those factors to isolate the influence of the Express Lanes policy on the mixed-flow lanes," Wiggins wrote in an emailed answer.

South Pasadena City Councilman Michael Cacciotti, a San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments member, said he's ridden this stretch of the 10 Freeway for years and since the changeover of the carpool lanes to pay lanes, he's experienced longer commutes in the mixed-flow lanes. What took about an hour is now taking an hour and 15 minutes, he said.

"I've been riding that route for 12 years. I know the traffic. And it is definitely 20 percent longer now," said Cacciotti, who once worked as an attorney for Caltrans. "We need to see that data. At the end of this demonstration project, I want to have those numbers," he said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority converted the carpool or High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the 10 Freeway into pay lanes on Feb. 23. The number of pay lanes increased to two each way; they are monitored electronically.

Each car must have a transponder to ride the lanes. A transponder can be purchased at Metro's El Monte Bus Station. It can be purchased for a $40 deposit online at metro.net, or at Costco, Albertson's or Automobile Club of Southern California offices.

The pay lanes allow single-occupancy drivers to use the HOV lanes for the first time in the 40-year history of the lanes. The average cost of a ride is $3.25 and about $5.50 during rush hours, Wiggins told the Council of Governments. The cost gets debited from a driver's account. Those with two riders can pay to use the lanes during rush hour but ride free during off-peak hours. Those with three people in a car are considered a car-pool and ride free all the time, as long as the transponder device is switched to "3."

Wiggins said Metro is trying to move more cars into the pay lanes, saying there is more capacity, especially during the off-peak hours. So it is holding a summer sale, reducing pay lane tolls from 25 cents a mile to 15 cents a mile through Labor Day.

Cacciotti, who also sits on the board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, said the pay lanes are used much less frequently during weekends and other off-peak times, yet the freeway's other lanes are jammed.

"I've timed it. Sometimes 40 seconds go by and there's not a car in that pay lane. And we're plugging away in traffic about 15 mph. The 10 is packed on weekends," he said.

In an unscientific survey conducted by the newspaper on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., most cars lining up to get on the 10 westbound from Rosemead Boulevard in Rosemead did not have a transponder on their windshield or dashboard. "No. I don't have it," said David Felix of Pasadena. "I don't know how to use it or how to get it. There is no information out there," he said. "And there is a lot of traffic (eastbound) between 3 and 4 p.m.," he said.

Wiggins reported that Metro had sold 100,000 transponders when the 10 Freeway pay lanes were launched at the end of February. By June 20, they had sold 175,000, she said. Drivers can use them for the 10 Freeway as well as the 110 Freeway pay lanes, which began in November.

"The level of interest continues to grow as people understand how the lanes work," Wiggins told the Council of Governments.

The most users per city in order from highest to lowest are as follows: Pasadena, West Covina, Arcadia, San Gabriel, Alhambra, Baldwin Park, El Monte, Rosemead, La Puente and Bradbury. Industry was the only San Gabriel Valley city with no pay lane accounts.

Wiggins will report back to the legislature after a year of operation for both pay lanes in 2014. The pay lanes will continue if Metro can show they reduce congestion, increase speeds, and cut down on emissions.

"For those who wondered ever in your lifetime if you can go 55 from the 605 to Alameda, that day is here now. I can also remember when the car-pool lanes were extremely unpredictable. Those days seem to have disappeared with the pilot as well," said Duarte City Councilman and Metro board member John Fasana.

Not for solo driver Anabelle Almonte. As her compact car inched forward on Temple City Boulevard toward the crowded westbound 10 Freeway, she was asked why she did not have a transponder and ride the pay lanes to move quicker.

"No. I don't. It is too expensive," she said.

15 hurt, 6 taken to hospital following scorching Pasadena Half Marathon


By Brian Day, June 30, 2013



 Participants at the start of the half marathon race, during the 5th Annual Pasadena Marathon Event, at Pasadena City College, in Pasadena, Sunday, June 30, 2013.



 Rescue personnel tend to a runner suffering from a heat-related illness during the Pasadena Marathon on Sunday, June 30, 2013.

PASADENA- Fifteen people were overcome by the heat, and six of them had to be taken to the hospital, as the Pasadena Half Marathon stepped off amid a scorching heat wave.
It was already 75 degrees when the first runners embarked on their routes at 6:30 a.m., and the temperature in Pasadena climbed above 80 degrees by the time the first runners began crossing the finish line. High humidity levels also posed a challenge.

"Toward the end you start to feel it," said Thomas DeGuzman, 25, of Covina, after completing a 5-kilometer run.

By the end of the event, paramedics responded to 15 calls for people experiencing significant heat-related illness, Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. Six of them required hospitalization. Their conditions were unknown.

Paramedics also approached several other runners who appeared to be displaying the signs of heat-related illness who declined treatment, she said.

A total of four foot races were held, with all courses beginning and ending at Pasadena City College. Runners could choose from a full 13.1-mile half marathon, a 10K run, a 5K run, or a 1K race for children.

"It's a little hot," said Anne Michels of South Pasadena. "I'm glad I only did the 5K."
With experience running in both cold and rainy weather as well as extreme heat, given the choice, she said, "I think I'd probably pick the rain."

While Michels said she has been attending Pasadena's marathons and half-marathons for years. But Sunday was special, because it was the her first time running a race alongside her 9-year-old son, Will.

"That was even better," the mother said. "I had to keep up with him."

To combat the effects of the heat, race organizer kept a plentiful supply of wet towels and bottled water on-hand for the racers while paramedics stood by to treat those who became overwhelmed by the high temperature. Air conditioned cooling buses were also provided for the runners.

The winner of the men's half marathon, with a time of 1 hour, 16 minutes and 39.9 seconds, was Ricardo Ramirez, 41, of Sun Valley.

The women's half marathon winner was Carla McAlister, 40, of San Clemente, with a finishing time of 1 hour, 26 minutes and 13.4 seconds.

Both champions are members of the Pasadena-based running club, Run With Us.

Ramirez said the heat was not a major concern for him.

"I train in the mountains. It's normal for me," he said. "I enjoyed the race."

McAlister, however, said she was not so accustomed to running in the heat, though she had experienced a hotter marathon in Boston in 2000.

"You've got to run smart when it's hot and humid. You've got to pace yourself," she said.
McAlister, who began running two years ago, said she was still having a great time learning about the sport.

With no previous running experience in high school or college, "For me, everything's new."

And she's off to a good start, having already twice won the Surf City Marathon.

In the 10K category, Wes Hallquist, 21, of Valencia, was the first male runner to cross the finish line in 39 minutes and 44.7 seconds. Elizabeth Williams, 31, of South Pasadena won the women's 10K with a time of 45 minutes and 43.2 seconds.

In the 5K, Leopoldo Islas, 41, whose city was unavailable, came in first in 18 minutes and 32.9 seconds. The women's 5K winner, Hannah Edwards, 19, of Whittier, finished in 22 minutes and 15.9 seconds.

Beware of Alhambra's SR-710 Propaganda!

From Sylvia Plummer, June 30, 2013 


Thanks to Rebecca Hoist for this find.

The July issue of Around Alhambra, Alhambra's Chamber of Commerce Newspaper, is filled with Pro SR710 propaganda

There are two articles.  The following quote comes from the article on page 1A of Section A of the July issue of Around Alhambra. (see below)

Scroll to bottom and click on 2013-07 (July-Section A).pdf

"After decades of fighting stall tactics by those few who oppose the freeway's completion, public support for the completion of the gap has grown significantly."

Fact:  I saw and heard two paid (by the City of Alhambra) Public Relations consultants from the "710 coalition" at the METRO Board Meeting on Thursday.  Harry Baldwin and Leland Dolley.  I have yet to see the unpaid advocates for the SR-710 tunnel because there aren't any!  

The second article "Research suggests a tunnel is best option to close 710-210 gap" on page 19B (see below: July-Section B) is the killer.  

The article states that 780 million has been earmarked for the completion of the 710 North freeway tunnel project through Measure R funds.  The truth is, the amount of 780 million has been earmarked to study and start the process. 

But here's another interesting one:  Alhambra states that traffic congestion will improve with a tunnel.

Fact:  The traffic in Alhambra is due more to their over development than the 710 stub.  And with a toll tunnel, Alhambra will see that the amount of traffic on surface streets will actually increase because of the diversion of traffic not wanting to pay the toll of  $5-15 one-way. 

One truth is mentioned:  There will be tolls! 

We could talk all day long about Alhambra and Metro's PR propaganda in these articles.
Let's help the folks that live in Alhambra by attending the 710 Day on July 10th and question/protest the project.  Any residents of Alhambra that might attend should be educated on the downfalls of a tunnel and the lack of any benefits to their city. 
From Alhambra Chamber of Commerce's "Around Alhambra, July 2013:
710 Day: a celebration about ‘Closing the Gap’
Anyone who has sat in a
traffic jam on the 10 or
710 freeways or has had
to wait a long time at a local traffic light should come to support
Alhambra’s “710 Day” celebrationon Wednesday, July 10.
 710 Day will be a fun, family
city of Alhambra is hosting the event and will offer
educational presentations and booths to raise awareness
about air quality and reducing traffi c congestion
by Closing the Gap via the proposed SR-710 extension
from Alhambra to Pasadena.

Kids are invited to participate, too, by taking
part in face painting, children’s games, and other¬
activities related to transportation.
There will be energy-effi cient car
displays, food truck vendors, live
entertainment, and much more.
Emcees will be Kylie Erica Mar,
segment reporter and host of “Made
In Hollywood,” and Mark Paulson, Chamber past president.

“After decades of fighting stall tactics by those few who oppose the freeway's
completion, public support for the completion of
the gap has grown signifi cantly. Recently completed
technical studies provide even more support for the
completion of a tunnel project,” a city press release
stated. “We need to celebrate this good news.”

In 2008, 67% of Los Angeles County voters
approved Measure “R,” which named the SR-710
 North Tunnel as one of the projects to be
completed. Opponents tried once again
to delay the project by filing a lawsuit,
which has since failed. Closing the gap
is now closer than ever to becoming a

Recent studies confirm the proposed
SR-710 North Connection via a tunnel
route would be a viable solution. Find
out how these studies have been dispelling
myths pitched by 710 opponents
by reading the Research suggests a tunnel
article on Page 19B of this issue.

To sign up for the city of Alhambra
SR-710 Information Distribution List,
view the city’s Facebook page, and
complete the online registration form,
or e-mail webmaster@cityofalhambra.
org and include name, company name,
address, city, phone number, and e-mail
address. Add “710 Information Please to the subject line.

Research suggests a tunnel is best option to close 710-210 gap

Public invited to 710 Day on July 10 to learn more, celebrate Closing the Gap

A three-year study by the L.A. County
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
(METRO) on ways to practically close a
seven-mile gap between the 710 and 210
freeways suggests that a tunnel alternative
is the best way to proceed in answer to
objections disseminated by opponents of
closing the gap.

The study began with more than100
alternatives. Of these, already 95 have
been eliminated leaving just five potential
options, which are currently being

Those alternatives were identified as:

1. No building anything; 2. Transportation
System & Transportation Demand
Management (TSM/TDM); 3. Bus Rapid
Transit; 4. Light Rail Transit; and 5. Freeway
in a tunnel concept connecting the
I-710 with the I-210.

Preliminary study findings suggest that
the tunnel alternative is the best way to
go which counters arguments disseminated
by 710 opponents. The findings are:

• The TSM/TDM and two transit alternatives
would reduce congestion by
less than 4% each, while the tunnel alternative
would reduce arterial and freeway
congestion by more than 20% and
eliminate congestion at 22% of the intersections
studied. These numbers help dispel
the argument by opponents that the
tunnel would not be a viable alternative.

• Traffic congestion and air quality
would improve, even after accounting
for future population growth and traffic
congestion in the area and region.
Preliminary analysis in previous tunnel
and SR-710 North studies over many
years indicates there would be greater mobility,
less congestion, and better air quality,
dispelling the myth driven by opponents
that a tunnel would increase air pollution.

• Preferred truck traffic routes along
the I-710 are being improved to accommodate
existing and future heavy truck
port traffic. Studies also indicate that the
I-210 is not a heavily used truck route for
port trucks entering or leaving the region.
These facts rebut the argument by opponents
that a tunnel would increase truck
traffic from the ports into the San Gabriel
Valley communities.

• Construction of a tunnel is
geotechnically feasible based on an exhaustive
Geotechnical Tunnel Technical
Study conducted in 2009, as well as
an EIR/EIS technical report released
earlier this year. These studies dispel the
notion by opponents that earthquake

faults in our region would create a dangerous
scenario for the construction of a

• $780 million has already been earmarked
for the completion of the 710
North Freeway Tunnel project through
Measure “R” Highway funds. Studies indicate
that the tunnel project can be built
through a Public-Private Partnership, with
approximately $1.29 billion in public
funding that would help attract over $2.53
billion in private capital, with ongoing
maintenance collected through tolls. Accordingly,
this counters the objetcion that
the cost of the tunnel would be prohibitive
and funding should be directed at less
expensive transit projects.

A Draft EIR/EIS report with a Cost
Benefit Analysis is set to be released in
2014 along with the selection of the Preferred

The Final EIR/EIS and secure Record
of Decision is set to be completed in the
spring of 2015. For additional facts,
project status, and community meeting information,
visit www.metro.net/projects/sr-
710-conversations and www.facebook.com/

To sign up for the city of Alhambra SR-
710 Information Distribution List, view
the city’s Facebook page and complete the
online registration form, or e-mail
webmaster@cityofalhambra.org and include
name, company name, title, address, city,
phone number, and e-mail address. Add
“710 Information Please” to subject line.